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Dutch organization develops first full electric concrete mixer

The Dutch organisation Wierda Hybrid Technologies is developing the world’s first full electric concrete mixer. Wierda Hybrid Technologies presented an operational prototype of this concrete mixer during the international fair of commercial vehicles, IAA, in the German city of Hannover.

Combining technologies

Electrically powered vehicles have been at the center of attention for many businesses in the past couple of years. Silent vehicles that do not emit greenhouse gasses appear to be a premise that speaks to the imagination. This is definitely so when it comes to freight traffic: trucks that run on diesel have been made more efficient in the past few years, but a fully electric truck would be a major step forwards. “In the distribution of goods and products in cities, it is possible to make use of fully electric vehicles”, says René Wierda, director and owner of Wierda Hybrid Technologies in the Dutch city of Joure. “For the heaviest category of freight traffic vehicles, it is still a great challenge to go fully electric.” Not because it is impossible, the director adds. “The technology is there. There are however, other factors that hinder the acceleration of electric vehicles.”

Wierda has experienced the process first hand. Next to Wierda Hybrid Technologies, the director developed another company that sells freight traffic vehicles from the brand MAN. The company also adjusts existing technology of MAN-trucks and focuses on developing hybrid vehicle drives. About six years ago, Wierda started developing the hybrid concrete mixer. “We have built and maintained good relations with suppliers of concrete”, says Wierda. “Our knowledge on vehicles allowed us to develop the Electric PTO. Through the combination of the electric motor, the battery pack, the vehicle and its system, we provide car loading cranes and concrete mixers with an electric vehicle drive. This is how the hybrid concrete mixer came to being.”

Safe working environment

“The hybrid concrete mixer has important advantages over the traditional concrete mixer”, says Jan Johan Kamstra, commercial manager of Wierda Hybrid Technologies. “The hybrid vehicle drive leads to fuel savings from 25 up to 35 percent. When loading and unloading the concrete, the machine can do this with less noise and less fumes. Drivers are no longer required to work in a polluted atmosphere caused by the diesel and they no longer have to shout through the noise that these machines usually produce. They can even hear bicycles coming by.” The concept led to a success: a large number of concrete mixers with a hybrid vehicle drive are now being used in the Netherlands.

Practice

Wierda Hybrid Technologies has strong ambitions to pave the way for electrification in freight traffic vehicles. According to the director, the concrete mixer offers the potential to be developed into a fully electric piece of machinery. Kamstra: “A concrete mixer runs relatively few kilometers. When loading concrete, the machine should also be able to charge the battery pack at the same time. This way, the vehicle can be used in a traditional way, but with all the benefits of an electric vehicle.” In theory, this is possible. However, theories alone do not make the change, so Wierda decided to show this theory in practice. By the end of 2018, a prototype of the fully electric concrete mixer should be ready to use.

Viable

“The fully electric concrete mixer will be a smaller mixer that carries 10 cubic meters of concrete on a four-axle chassis”, says Kamstra. Wierda makes clear choices when it comes to the chassis. “The vehicle has to be suitable for urban transport, because cities have the greatest need for emission free traffic. The fully electric concrete mixer will be provided with one driven axle and three steered axles, which will enable the vehicle to be driven with less effort. Moreover, the vehicle drive will save up energy. This will be the chassis of the future: viable, light weight and energy efficient”, says Kamstra.

Challenging factors

“In 2030, electric concrete mixers might become the standard”, says Wierda. “Our electric concrete mixer will be the first to showcase what technology is already able to do. However, it is unlikely that we will sell great numbers of this machinery in the years to

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